Thursday, August 23, 2012

Birthday Wishes and the State of Life

The amount of happy birthday wishes I've received on Facebook has been gobsmacking. Facebook is not a website I visit often. Actually I tend to stay away from it. Yet yesterday notices kept arriving at an amazing pace for people posting happy birthday wishes on my Facebook wall. I was stunned. 

I think something clicked off on birthdays for me after my parents didn't have a birthday wish or a present for me on my 12th birthday. Being a child, still, I was mortified but hungry, and ended up asking for a birthday present. I got one, but it was so tainted that I still remember it with a mixed measure of like (because I got something I really wanted) and dislike because I had to friggin ask for it.

So for Tuesday, I wasn't expecting anything out of the normal for my lala land world. Except that the weekend before Max had made sure I had a birthday present - a Kindle. Yay! Also, except that on Monday Jill called to let me know that Jeanne, her mother and my aunt, had decided she had to come visit her sister, my mother, and they'd be arriving after noon on Tuesday.

When they arrived, Lola was still in bed, so Jeanne got the pleasure of going in and waking her up. On the one hand, it was slightly mean of me to let it happen that way. On the other hand, Jeanne's been in a bit of denial about the state Lola's come to, and I wanted Jeanne to fully recognize that state. The state of incontinence, sleeping in urine, the smell, the inability to know one room from another, the daily chore of cleaning and changing clothes, the mindlessness, the feeding - all of it - when there is only ONE person to do it. 

In my life, there are no siblings. I am the only one on the face of the earth who can care for my mother unless my mother goes into the Medicare system. There are no brothers or sisters to help. There are no friends to help. There is no one but me. Jill is in the same position. Jill is Jeanne's only child. There is no one to help Jill. 

In Jeanne's life, everyone that she's been involved with intimately and has loved has died following some type of medical crisis. Her father died years after blood poisoning following a gallbladder operation. Her mother died a few years after suffering a debilitating stroke, and Jeanne, Lola, and Bebe cared for their mother until her death. Jeanne's husband died within a short time of being diagnosed with cancer. 

Jill is facing how to care for Jeanne at the end of Jeanne's life. Jill's position is not the same as my position. Jill won't have the ability to move in with Jeanne and care for Jeanne if Jeanne devolves into senility or becomes bedridden. Jeanne is refusing to acknowledge this. 

Maybe seeing Lola and what it takes to care for her will remind Jeanne that this is an issue that she will have to reconcile. Maybe this will make things easier for Jill.

On another sad note, like my blog is filled with anything but sad notes lately, Max had to have one of our elderly cats euthanized this week. Our big yellow cat, Mikey, finally succumbed to age and needed his suffering ended. He'd begun to suffer paralysis in his hind quarters, along with becoming unable to eat well and drooling endlessly. It was his time.

We'd rescued Mikey from a neighbor who refused to care for him (along with a human sister they were prosecuted for for abuse and negligent death, which is a whole 'nother story). Mikey was the most loving cat we've ever had. He suffered loving from every toddler and child that came into our house and allowed them all to simply lug him around. He suffered abuse from our two other cats who were put out of joint when he joined our family. He accepted us all and brought joy to our lives. We will miss him.

Now we are down to one cat, Julian Bashir, who lives with Max in Memphis, and is elderly himself, and Stoopid, who was my father's cat, and lives with me in Arlington. If I could come up with any humane way of ridding myself of Stoopid, I would do it in a New York second. Sadly, I've not been able to find anyone who will take him; there's not an animal shelter in Carlisle County, and I can't force myself to simply have him put down. 


Debbi said...

I am not on Fartbook, so a late happy birthday! May the next year be wonderful!

Debbi said...

I should of read further... I am so sorry about Mikey. :(